This is about regarding EA as a tool, a means to some ends. What outcomes are expected from EA?
For example, do we regard EA as a planning tool, a coordination and governance tool, or an asset management tool? Or some combination of these?
This is about the power and responsibility of EA as a function. What tasks are delegated to EA, and by whom? How is EA held accountable for a given set of outcomes?
For example, does EA play an advisory role or gatekeeper role? Does EA report to the CIO or the CEO?
How large is the system for which EA is accountable? What issues and concerns are a legitimate part of the EA agenda? Is EA restricted to formal IT systems, does it include informal IT systems (such as social networking), or does it also include business and organization issues? In other words, does Enterprise Architecture really mean Enterprise IT Architecture or Enterprise Data Architecture?
And does EA include ways of understanding the enterprise as a complex and dynamic human activity system, not merely as a fixed array of automated and bureaucratic functions?
In What is Enterprise Architecture? and What's Wrong With Enterprise Architecture?, I analysed EA from five perspectives, but not all these perspectives are relevant to understanding EA maturity. The three dimensions I'm defining here can be mapped as a rough simplification from these five perspectives for maturity purposes. When people (including myself) talk about Next Generation EA, this usually means some shift in one or more of these three dimensions.